The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) on Friday reported 2,507 new cases of COVID-19 in the state — including 20 new cases in Hancock County — and 34 deaths.

Fourteen of those deaths occurred between Dec. 11 and Dec. 156; and 20 occurred between Nov. 13 and Dec. 14, and were identified from death certificates.

“Mississippi's total of COVID-19 cases for the year now stands at 190,411, with 4,354 deaths,” according to the agency’s statement Friday. “Among cases and deaths already reported, MSDH has identified 90 new cases in residents of long-term care facilities, and 8 deaths. There are currently 235 ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities.”

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Hobbs has issued an advisory on social gatherings: “Due to rapidly rising COVID-19 cases, all residents of Mississippi should avoid any social gathering that includes individuals outside of the immediate family or household. MSDH recommends that Mississippians only participate in work, school or other absolutely essential activities, and avoid gatherings such as social events, sporting events, in-person church services, and weddings and funerals unless they involve only close family (preferably outdoors).”

As of Friday morning, Hancock County had a total of 1,644 cases of coronavirus with 49 deaths, including 68 cases and 13 deaths in long-term care facilities.

Also as of Friday, Harrison County had 9,262 cases — up 81 from the day before — with 133 deaths, including 434 cases and 49 deaths in long-term care.

Pearl River County had 2,177 total cases — up from 2,139 on Thursday —with 75 deaths, including 143 cases and 27 deaths in long-term care.

As of Dec. 13, the MSDH estimates that 148,466 Mississippi residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 are presumed recovered.

As of Dec. 16, 1,219 Mississippians were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 infections, including 315 patients in an ICU and 193 patients on ventilators. There were also 74 patients hospitalized with suspected COVID infections.

“Anyone with symptoms of fever, severe cough or severe chest pains – especially those who are older or in poor health – should make arrangements for testing with their doctor or one of the many healthcare providers now performing testing,” according to MSDH. “Healthcare providers can assess your health history and symptoms, and perform testing for COVID-19 as needed. MSDH is also helping conduct free drive-up testing sites in many parts of the state. Always call ahead to the testing provider for instructions on safely being examined before you visit for your test.”

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